Single-shot vaccines bring relief for elderly, calm needle fears
Before the vaccination site at the Mona Ageing and Wellness Centre at the University of the West Indies, Mona, was opened yesterday morning, more than 50 people were already eagerly in line to receive the single-shot Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine.
Some 115,200 doses of the jab were purchased by the Government through the African Medical Supplies Platform and transported to Jamaica by UNICEF on Monday.
Their arrival was welcome news for one 89-year-old woman, who asked not to be named, at the centre yesterday. She told The Gleaner that she had a preference for the J&J vaccine because of her fear of needles.
“I’m not fond of taking injections, so I didn’t want to be injected twice,” she said, revealing her reason for shying away from the other two-shot vaccines available.
“I have been observing the protocols. I am accustomed to staying home. I read, listen to the radio, and do crossword puzzles, so I have no problem staying home,” said the senior citizen.
Her daughter, who accompanied her to the vaccination site, said that her mom had indicated that she would be too anxious as she awaited the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“I knew she wasn’t going anywhere, and we (other relatives) are fully vaccinated, so I supported her decision,” her daughter said.
Sean Albert, 27, was also interested in the vaccine because of the single shot needed to be inoculated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
With increasing infections, hospitalisations, and deaths locally and having heard no timeline on when the J&J vaccine would get to Jamaica until recently, he began to worry.
“It was very scary, and because of that, I tried to limit going outside by working from home and only going out for the very necessary things like shopping. The long wait made me think about getting the AstraZeneca vaccine,” he explained.
Director of BYD Construction, Shukun Zhang, led a team of 37 Chinese employees to be vaccinated.
“It’s hard to get vaccines, and we have difficulties going home because the AstraZeneca vaccine requires two doses. We might take one dose and can’t get a second one when we reach home, so everybody preferred to get the Johnson & Johnson because it’s one dose and they can go home safely,” he explained.
The Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines are being administered in China.
The team leader told The Gleaner that many of his staff have not seen their families in over two years.
He added that the ever-changing COVID-19 situation has resulted in losses to a number of Chinese companies, which have bought tickets for their staff to return home.
“Thanks to the medical team, we got vaccinated today. Everybody was excited,” he said.
A couple, Rita and Jasford Brown, were among the first to receive the J&J vaccine at the location.
Jasford told The Gleaner that he waited for the J&J because it provides immunity in a shorter time – two weeks after vaccination.
The 84-year-old added that he has played it safe since the onset of the pandemic, only leaving home once or twice a week.
Rita, 73, who has no comorbidities, said she leaned towards the J&J because of her age as she would only have to make one trip to a vaccination site.
Overall, J&J inoculations at the end of yesterday stood at 1,334, according to the health ministry’s vaccine tracker.